Archive for December, 2010

Vidtonic DIY Android TV kit


Vidtonic is going to present its new DIY kit to build Android TV on the CES 2011 on January. It’ll include television housing, cables, 1080p LCD panel in various sizes, power supply, a motherboard using an ARM/DSP microprocessor solution and full SDK to build software part. Sure, it’ll be interesting for many Android folks. We saw such approach in the past with hacker Roomba kit or open source version of DVR Neorus. But in my opinion it’d be much better to have set-top-box based kit. It’s cheaper and easier to delivery. In any case, let’s wait till CES 2011 and see the DIY Android TV kit availability and price.

Compact but power NetBox-nT330i


Compact, energy-efficient and inexpensive HTPC or media client can be built using Foxconn nettop NetBox-nT330i. It has Intel Atom Dual Core 330 1.60GHZ processor and nVidia Ion graphics which should be enough for 1080p video playback. The nettop includes gigabit Ethernet, HDMI and DVI outputs, 6 USB ports, cardreader and supports 2.5″ HDD and up to 4GB DDR2 RAM.

The price of barebone model NetBox-nT330i is about €160.

Synology NAS DS211+: quiet and energy-efficient

synology ds211plus NAS

Today NAS isn’t something unattainable for home users. Its price is going down while the amount of media content is going up. So, many companies offer their solution for SOHO segment. One of them is Synology. Its new NAS DS211+ has a few very good features which distinguish it from many other similar devices. First of all, it’s quiet. Its noise level is just about 20 dB(A) thanks to a 92mm low-rotation fan. Believe me this is very important. I have DLink DNS-321 and the noise produced its small fan is really annoying. Also device is energy-efficient. It takes about 24 Watt.

The DS211+ supports two 3.5″ hot-swappable hard drives with summary capacity up to 6TB. Additionally it sports gigabit Ethernet, three USB and one eSata ports. Plus SD cardreader. A 1.6GHz processor and 512MB RAM should be enough to have a good performance for UPnP or Samba services. Using additional packages from Synology it’ll be possible to install Squeezebox Server, Webalizer or phpMyAdmin.

The Synology NAS DS211+ is available now for about $400. It isn’t so cheap as DLink devices, for example. But the hardware and software quality cannot be inexpensive.

Control your X10 devices with iHomeTouch

ihometouch control X10

Application iHomeTouch gives a convenient and easy way to control X10 devices from iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. To define the target device just open a photo taken from device camera and define it by touch. Application will store coordinates together with description. After that press it to turn on/off. It’s very simple and intuitive.

The iHomeTouch needs some special software installed on your Windows-based home server or controller – iHomeTouchServer and ActiveHome SDK as well as X10 Computer Interface e.g. CM11 or similar one. Mac fans can use Thinking Home instead iHomeTouchServer. See demo video, which shows how to control Christmas tree, after break.

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Use Kinect to control Boxee and XBMC media centers

Kinect becomes gesture remote for Boxee and XBMC

Using a new Kinect hack called KinEmote – Kinect Driven Media Control, you can manage the Boxee- or XBMC-based media center just by gestures. Sounds cool, doesn’t it? Also it can be used any OpenNI compliant camera together with KinEmote and not just Kinect original one. So, you may enjoy native control like on demo video below.
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